Not everyone buys new all the time, some buy used cars, get hand-me-downs, or recycle furniture from their parents. Garage sales are really not that different, you are just acquiring items in a new way and you would want to look at it as such. Unfortunately, people see themselves as exempt from going to garage sales and have used some of the following reasons to stay away.

1. Everything at a garage sale is used - Well, yeah. So has everything in your home, a hotel, at the gym and so on. Hardware items simply need to be washed well. Clothing can be cleaned by your own trusty washer and furniture can be steamed cleaned with a good steam vac and stain remover. You can find treasure underneath what others may consider trash.

2. Stuff is too dirty - If dirt freaks you out, bring rubber gloves, baby wipes or a wet cloth and towel. When you do buy it, wash it first before setting it anywhere. However, most sellers are kind enough to brush off the top layer of dust as they want to get rid of the item as quick as possible.

3. Why waste the gas when it can be bought online - True, you can save gas, but when you pay for shipping you are paying for someone else’s gas (usps, ups, fedex). Also, you don’t receive quite the joy after searching 12 yard sales and finally finding the perfect piece for under a $1. And don’t forget you can handle the item in person and don’t have to worry about breaking during the shipping process.

4. You can’t find anything at garage sales - Patience has a great redeemer. The best part is finding the item just when you least expected or were looking for something else. It’s like magic!

5. It’s too time consuming - Have you never set foot in a mall? I can waste hours in a mall and only go into 3 stores. Consider what I could see in that same amount of time out garage saling. You don’t have to go to yard sales every weekend, you don’t even have to go unless the mood strikes you. Going garage saling should be a joy and not a burden.

6. You have to haggle - One of the interesting things about living in the US is that haggling is not expected, but the exception. Most sellers mark a price on an item and expect to get it. The fun part is is that you don’t have to buy it, but can haggle for it. Most people don’t have an idea how to price their items, so offer 10-20% off the marked price. You can always put it down and walk away.

7. Garage sales are for poor people - This is one I heard recently at work from a guy in designer jeans and denim jacket. I can understand that if you are brought up around 2nd hand items and you want to break out of that, going to garage sales might have a certain aspect that isn't appealing.

However, if you are saving money at garage sales on furniture or housewares that gives you the extra money to spend on Sean John clothes or platinum jewelry if that is what you value most. Cut back on what you can so that you buy the more expensive items that mean more to you.

Ok readers, I know there are a few of you that have opinions on these or even heard your own excuses. Lets hear your thoughts.


  1. Clair of Frugal Living Freedom // Wednesday, April 15, 2009 11:24:00 AM  

    You are absolutely right. These are excuses, not reasons. Everything has its price. Whether it's gas, time, cleaning, shipping or whatever, we each need to make a determination whether the costs are worth it.

    A friend of mine shakes her head in disgust when I say that Friday mornings during the summer are reserved for garage sales with my best friend across the road. That's her mindset and not mine. I'm just fine with 50% to 90% off of items that I can use.

    Here are some examples:

    Electric baseball pitching machine for $17

    32 pairs of lightly worn Levi jeans and two never worn pairs in two Rubbermaid tubs for $7

    A Henckels chef knife for 25 cents

    A Poulan chain saw (used only once) for $10

    If you're stuck on pride and image, then you'll be paying retail prices that include profit and overhead. You'll get pretty packaging and a plastic bag to carrying things home in, but you'll be spending much more than you need to. And, you'll be paying tax as well.

    Instead, my focus is to live off the waste of others. I let them pay retail and then sell it to me for next to nothing when they finally realize that they didn't need it or want it in the first place.


  2. Kate // Wednesday, April 15, 2009 12:24:00 PM  

    I love garage sales or as they are called here in the UK boot sales.

    i have found some great bargain and have even sold many items too, things that were just to good to throw away. And qwith the money I made I was able to use for something I really wanted.

    Plus in these times of environemental issues, garage sales are a gret way to recycle unwanted but perfectly good items.

  3. Dawn C // Wednesday, April 15, 2009 7:17:00 PM  

    @Clair of Frugal Living Freedom
    Wow, those are some great deals and patience does pay off.

    You are right, things are too good to throw away.

  4. Dual Income No Kids // Thursday, April 16, 2009 4:21:00 PM  

    Hey Guys,

    I don't know if I agree that garage sales are all that bad.

    For example if you are throwing one, its a great opportunity to make some extra money.

    Also, some of the deals you can find are really wonderful. For example the commenter above cited getting a henkel knife for 25 cents. Thats 1% of retail! Thats a wonderful price for such a high quality kitchen utensil.

  5. Coupon Trunk // Friday, April 17, 2009 4:53:00 AM  

    There's gold in them there garage sales. Literally, there are some treasures to be found at garage sales, whether they are collectibles and other valuable items. As they saying goes 'one man's trash is another man's treasure'. The items you can find at a garage sale don't necessarily have to have a monetary value as long as they have a useful value. I've often found items that I simply liked the design of, and which you wouldn't find today.

    Some garage sales don't offer much, but that isn't always the case. I can only say that garage sales can be valuable outings, but you'll never know unless you visit them.

  6. Christine // Sunday, April 19, 2009 7:45:00 AM  

    You can add exercise and fresh air to your list of good things about Garage Sales!
    Not to mention being friendly and meeting your neighbors.
    This list could go on and on.

  7. Dawn C // Monday, April 20, 2009 10:49:00 AM  

    @D.I.N.Ksoh, I don't believe garage sales are bad at all, I am just surprised at some of the excuses people use to NOT go.
    Having a yard sale of your own is a wonderful way to get rid of your stuff and make some decent money in a day.

    @Coupon TrunkI would agree with you, I go to garage sales to not only look for things I need but keep my eyes open for that occasional treasure.

    @ChristineExcellant additions: Exercise - I know I feel it after about 6 sales and all that getting in and out of the car... ha!

  8. Haley @ Cheap Recipe Blog // Monday, July 02, 2012 10:49:00 PM  

    For a minute I thought this post was titled "10 reasons NOT to go to to garage sales" - and I couldn't imagine why someone would ever not want to go to one! Haha. Great post!